This fall, Japan is enjoying a bloom it didn’t quite expect. While usually the country’s famed cherry blossoms bloom in the spring, over 300 people — from Kyushu in western Japan to Hokkaido in the north — have reported seeing cherry blossoms in their neighborhood this month. This news might perturb tourists who wait all year to visit Japan during cherry blossom season, but we imagine locals are delighted by the unexpected floral phenomenon. Hiroyuki Wada, a tree doctor at the Flower Association of Japan told local news outlet NHK, “This has happened in the past, but I don’t remember seeing something of this scale.”
The untimely blooming may have been caused by a recent series of typhoons that have struck the country. Typhoon Jebi, the strongest storm Japan has seen in 25 years, killed over 10 people and caused widespread natural and structural damage. According to Wada, the cherry trees’ leaves usually release a hormone that keep the floral buds from growing, but since the typhoons caused the trees to lose their leaves, that hormone wasn’t present. Warmer temperatures following the storms may have also played a role.
Perhaps causing even more consternation for prospective cherry blossom-viewers, the buds that bloomed this fall will not bloom again in spring. It should not, however, have much impact on the cherry blossom season overall.